- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Common sense could be the operative motto for the Grand Old Party as it seeks to articulate a viable message and identify appropriate standard bearers while the 2014 midterm season fires up and rattles down the campaign trail. The clock is ticking. But the thinkers are thinking.

“The best way to reach out and motivate establishment Republicans is to show them the compelling data that proves an integrated conservatism is the best way to win elections,” Frank Cannon, president of American Principles Project, tells Inside the Beltway.

“Social issues — particularly the abortion issue and religious liberty issue, properly framed — are helpful in mobilizing constituencies, such as women, young people and Hispanics, which establishment Republicans want to reach,” Mr. Cannon continues.

The nonprofit organization has a calling to identify and support local and national policies that “respect the dignity of the person” and lead to a flourishing society. Rigorous debate and advocacy, outreach and education play a part, as is the group’s insistence they will collaborate with all who embrace such principles.

“It is important that the financial interests in the conservative movement and the Republican Party work in concert with the grassroots. This is best accomplished when candidates promote both economic and social conservatism,” Mr. Cannon adds.

The organization, however, is in party mode Wednesday. Their second annual Red, White & Blue Gala gets underway at dusk in a historic hotel a few blocks north of the White House; guests have been encouraged to wear “cocktail attire” in those colors. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Redstate.com founder Erick Erickson and Mr. Cannon are the point men of the evening, and they are prepared to “outline the political landscape for 2014,” organizers say.

And the menu? A source reveals this: baby spinach salad with poached pear and Gorgonzola; seared filet mignon with wild mushrooms and brie; truffled mashed potatoes, fresh local broccolini and tricolored carrots; and chocolate espresso cake with vanilla butter cream. And special mystery guest offers a toast to Ronald Reagan at night’s end.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Para Bellum Labs”

— The name of the new Digital and Data Department of the Republican National Committee, meant to foster a “new tech-centered mindset” in the party, and increase visibility and credibility in the tech community. The department will host a future “political hackathon.” The effort is led by deputy chief of staff and chief digital officer Chuck DeFeo and chief data officer Azarias Reda.

“Para Bellum,” incidentally, means “prepare for war” in Latin. The word choice has already brought critics running; they point out that parabellum is also the name of a World War I-era machine gun, and later, a German pistol.

LENO: REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT?

We may never know the answer to that question. But one thing is for sure. NBC’s “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno beat up on Democrats more than he did Republicans, at least according to the numbers. Yes, there’s a painstaking study, released just as Mr. Leno exits his longtime late-night perch.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University analyzed 43,892 jokes about public figures and public affairs that Mr. Leno told between 1992 and January 24, 2014.

Here’s what they found: Democrats were the butt of 10,885 jokes, and Republicans were jabbed in 9,465 jokes. The biggest target of all was former President Bill Clinton, who drew 4,607. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

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